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Strike line problem? Help please!

Started by CJW78, May 25, 2022, 02:22:45 AM

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Hi folks. Rhodes newbie here, so I'm hoping someone can point me in the right direction! I am experiencing a metallic 'thunk'/chirping sound when the hammer hits the tine, and the note sounds muted somewhat - on some tines more than others. My Rhodes has new hammer tips, new grommets and screws etc. When I first got my Rhodes mk 1 a few weeks ago I discovered that the damper rail at the extreme bass end was hitting the back of the harp when the sustain pedal was fully pressed down. I figured that whoever had placed the harp there must have done it incorrectly and didn't worry too much about moving it. So I moved the harp down at the bass end just enough to give the damper rail clearance. Fast forward a few weeks and I am now in the middle of setting the escapement by using the screws in the tone bar...I found that the escapement was much larger than it should be, pretty much across the whole range. Anyway, I am noticing that I'm getting this thud/chirp when the hammer tip hits the tine, and I am not sure what it's being caused by. Is it the strikeline set incorrectly? I am pretty sure that it's not the escapement being too small...I tried increasing the escapement to see if the noise was being caused by the tine vibrating against the hammer before it has time to fall, and I still get the clunk sound. The damper felts are also not in the way and I still hear the issue when pressing the sustain pedal down. So I am thinking it must be the strikeline...Can anyone confirm this for me? Video attached!


How close is the tine to the pickup? If it is too close it can make a similar thunk sound so I would try moving the pickup a bit further away and see if that fixes it.

I don't think the strikeline would cause that issue if its only on certain notes but I've included a link to the manual so you can check it just in case:
1969 KMC Home Rhodes Prototype


Its tempting to assume that this is a strike line issue but....its really difficult to diagnose without having the instrument in front of me. You can also get this same sound from an instrument with the correct strike line if the tine is sitting too high (or low) in relation to the pickup.

As simple as the Rhodes may seem, all of the action adjustments are interrelated. So changing one dimension will effect several other aspects.

I would not recommend addressing escapement issues by adjusting the tone bar mount screws. This adjustment alone will alter the strike line. Excess escapement is best addressed by lowering the entire harp either by removing harp shims or, on older pianos, shaving the maple harp mounting blocks (not for the faint of heart).

Wish I could be of more help.

pianotuner steveo

It sounds like the pickup is too close to the tine to me.(and may possibly need a voicing adjustment- up/down of the tine to pickup) This is an easy test. Just slide the pickup back a little at a time to see if it improves. If you go too far, that note will be too quiet compared to its neighbors. Sometimes it will be obvious visually, comparing this one to its neighbors.
1960 Wurlitzer model 700 EP
1968 Gibson G101 Combo organ
1975 Rhodes Piano Bass
1979 Wurlitzer 206A EP
1980 Wurlitzer 270 Butterfly Grand
2009 73A Rhodes Mark 7
2009 Korg SV-1 73
2017 Yamaha P255
2020 Kawai CA99
....and a few guitars...